Artist Biography for John O'Keefe Jr.
Art During Middle School and High School
MIDDLE SCHOOL ART CLASSES
Throughout middle school I absorbed every art class. The exercises were beneficial and taught me new ways to express myself through art. My artwork greatly improved after attending those classes. I started developing a reputation in school for my drawing ability.
ART PROJECTS TURNED REALITY
I took my love of model building and decided to build a real tree fort. When it was completed the structure spanned 3 trees and it had three stories in the middle section. It had a prison, a draw-bridge, 6 rooms, and a lookout platform 20 feet up. We built a pulley-system to transport supplies from one section to another section. All the materials were scavenged from the local dump. We scoured the area for plywood, lumber, rope, and even nails. It was quite a project.
It took the neighborhood gang a few years to complete. There was probably about a dozen kids from the neighborhood who helped build this monster. No adults were involved - This was 100% kid built! In the end, my mother's home-owners insurance company said that the tree fort must come down or they would cancel her policy. That was a sad day for all the kids who helped build it. These are the only surviving pictures of the tree fort of all tree forts, and it was only about half built in these pictures.
MORE ART PROJECTS TURNED REALITY
A constant theme during my middle school years was that my drawings reflected my other interests. Around this time I had an interest in BMX bikes and freestyle riding which you can see reflected in these next drawings.
HIGH SCHOOL ART CLASSES
In high school my love of drawing was rekindled. I benefited greatly from the more advanced instruction given in the high school art program, and this can be seen in these next examples.